Norway 1 R Ireland 1

August 20, 2008

Final score 1-1 report to follow Keane 44’ Reginiussen 61’

Liverpool striker Robbie Keane was on target for the Irish just before the break, but a howler from Dean Kiely gifted defender Tore Reginiussen a second-half equaliser.

Ireland set out on the road to South Africa 2010 against Georgia next month, and had to weather a storm both figuratively and literally as the Scandinavians completed their own preparations for the forthcoming qualifiers.

After a slow start the visitors assumed control before the break and took a deserved lead through skipper Keane’s predatory 44th-minute strike.

However, when substitute goalkeeper Kiely missed a straightforward delivery from wide 16 minutes after the break, Reginiussen pounced.

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Russia 1 v Holland 1

August 20, 2008

Robin van Persie’s first-half strike gave the visitors a deserved 1-0 lead with the Dutch eager to avenge their defeat by Guus Hiddink’s men in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals two months ago.
The Arsenal forward beat Russia keeper Igor Akinfeyev, curling a delicate left-footed shot into the top corner from just outside the area in the 25th minute.
The Russians stunned the much-fancied Dutch 3-1 in extra time at the European Championship in June, securing their best showing at a major tournament in 20 years and a personal victory for Hiddink over his home country.
The home team fielded an almost identical lineup on Wednesday. The Dutch were missing defender Khalid Boulahrouz and midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Orlando Engelaar through injury as well as goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and forward Ruud van Nistelrooy, who retired from the international game after Euro 2008.

The Dutch, who recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Russia in a friendly in Amsterdam in February last year, dominated for much of the lively encounter at Moscow’s Lokomotiv stadium, with van Persie being the most active for the visitors until he was substituted by Ibrahim Afellay midway through the second half.
The Russians lost their top striker Roman Pavlyuchenko to injury late in the first half but escaped with a draw when Zyryanov calmly fired from the spot for the equaliser 12 minutes from time after Giovanni van Bronckhorst fouled Dmitry Torbinsky inside the box.

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Germany 2 v Belgium 0

August 20, 2008

Second-half goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marko Marin lifted Germany to victory over Belgium in an international friendly on Wednesday night.
Schweinsteiger struck from the spot in the 59th before Marin’s beautiful strike put the one-sided issue beyond doubt 13 minutes from time.
Playing without injured midfielders Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings, Germany made a strong start with Piotr Trochowski firing a first warning shot from the left channel after just 75 seconds which was saved by Stijn Stijnen.
A nice one-two between Philipp Lahm and Schweinsteiger then created room for Lukas Podolski only for the Bayern Munich star to hit the side-netting from 10 yards.

Daniel Van Buyten then wasted an opening for Belgium when he blasted a 25-yard free-kick against the wall.
Germany almost grabbed the lead after 12 minutes when Thomas Hitzlsperger intercepted a pass and sent Podolski clear. The striker got the ball past the onrushing Stijnen who connected with a kick at Podolski to bring the German down, but no foul was given.
The Belgian goalkeeper used more orthodox methods to maintain his clean sheet four minutes later, denying Miroslav Klose from close range after he was played in by Hitzlsperger.
Three minutes later Belgium had their first real scoring opportunity following a strong run by Axel Witsel, who outfoxed Lahm on the right and found Tom De Sutter with his cross only for the striker’s effort to go the wrong side of the post with Robert Enke beaten.

Schweinsteiger came close in the 22nd minute when he was left unmarked at the far post following a cross from the left but his volley flew over the crossbar.

Hitzlsperger tried his luck with a long-distance effort in the 39th minute before the first half came to a close with neither team having made the breakthrough.
Stijnen was on alert again early in the second half when he cleared a long pass ahead of onrushing substitute Kevin Kuranyi.
Lahm then came close with a curled effort from 25 yards out which Stijnen diverted round the post.
Schweinsteiger eventually broke the deadlock in the 59th when he calmly fired home from the spot after Van Buyten had wrestled Mario Gomez to the floor in the box.
And after Bart Goor fired over the last chance for the visitors, substitute Marin put the issue beyond doubt as he played a superb one-two with Lahm, rounded a defender and curled the ball home.

Germany vs Belgium (2-0) Friendly 20.08.2008
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Sweden 2 v france 3

August 20, 2008

Two goals by Sidney Govou helped France come from behind to defeat Sweden 3-2 in a friendly on Wednesday.
Veteran Henrik Larsson opened the scoring for the hosts with a spectacular volley from a cross by Kim Kallstrom in the fifth minute.

It was the 37th international goal for former Barcelona and Manchester United striker Larsson, who turns 37 next month.
Sweden’s lead did not last long though as Karim Benzema equalised 13 minutes later.
Govou put France in front in the 61st minute before making it 3-1 with 13 minutes remaining after good work from winger Florent Malouda and captain Thierry Henry.
Kallstrom pulled one back for the Swedes by converting a late penalty.

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